Attempted Assassination of the Queen

By Knight of the White Elephant of Burmah William McGonagall 1825–1902 William McGonagall
God prosper long our noble Queen,
       And long may she reign!
Maclean he tried to shoot her,
       But it was all in vain.

For God He turned the ball aside
       Maclean aimed at her head;
And he felt very angry
       Because he didn’t shoot her dead.

There’s a divinity that hedges a king,
       And so it does seem,
And my opinion is, it has hedged
       Our most gracious Queen.

Maclean must be a madman,
       Which is obvious to be seen,
Or else he wouldn’t have tried to shoot
       Our most beloved Queen.

Victoria is a good Queen,
       Which all her subjects know,
And for that God has protected her
       From all her deadly foes.

She is noble and generous,
       Her subjects must confess;
There hasn’t been her equal
       Since the days of good Queen Bess.

Long may she be spared to roam
       Among the bonnie Highland floral,
And spend many a happy day
       In the palace of Balmoral.

Because she is very kind
       To the old women there,
And allows them bread, tea, and sugar,
       And each one to get a share.

And when they know of her coming,
       Their hearts feel overjoy’d,
Because, in general, she finds work
       For men that’s unemploy’d.

And she also gives the gipsies money
       While at Balmoral, I’ve been told,
And, mind ye, seldom silver,
       But very often gold.

I hope God will protect her
       By night and by day,
At home and abroad,
       When she’s far away.

May He be as a hedge around her,
       As He’s been all along,
And let her live and die in peace
       Is the end of my song.

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Poet Knight of the White Elephant of Burmah William McGonagall 1825–1902

POET’S REGION Scotland

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Heroes & Patriotism, Crime & Punishment, History & Politics, Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

Knight of the White Elephant of Burmah William  McGonagall

Biography

One of Scotland’s best-known poets, William McGonagall was the working-class son of Irish handloom weavers, and was born in Edinburgh and raised in Dundee. McGonagall’s first career, as a Shakespearean actor—as Macbeth, he once reputedly refused to die onstage—informed the crowd-pleasing performance that was central to his second career as a poet. He had an epiphany at the age of 52 that prompted him to devote the rest of his . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Heroes & Patriotism, Crime & Punishment, History & Politics, Social Commentaries

POET’S REGION Scotland

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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